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7 Ways Sharing Your Story Will Change Your Life

7 Ways Sharing Your Story Will Change Your Life

There are certain stories that unite us all.

Through telling stories, we feel connection, and similarity. Oddly enough, we can also define and create our stories through our own uniqueness. No one else can write the story of our life – it’s what makes us unique, yet we all can relate to certain themes and feelings. When we tell our story, we are asking for attention from those we care about or wish to affect.

So, why are stories so important? It is incredibly important because sharing your story can change your life.

Breath
    Photo Credit: Amy Oestreicher via www.amyoes.com

    Telling our stories helps us process what happens in our lives. Through our shared experience, we can heal. It’s not the details that matter – suffering is relative. By sharing our stories, we can connect with others who feel the same way. We suddenly feel less alone in our ever-unfolding narrative.

    You don’t have to be a book author, a storyteller, or a Chatty Cathy to tell your story. Here are seven ways to start sharing your story.

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    1.) Make a mantra

    When the weather’s beautiful out, I love taking nature walks and reciting this mantra to myself:

    Breathe in experience, breathe out your story.

    Breathe in, and when you exhale, ask yourself what truth you are aching to express today.

    Floating-Girl
      Photo credit: Amy Oestreicher

      2.) Read a children’s book

      Does anyone remember the book It Looked Like Spilt Milk? The pages are simply filled with white splotches – clouds. It’s up to you to decide what shapes these “clouds” are taking. Children’s books make stories out of anything – even white splotches! There’s nothing like a kid’s book to get your mind thinking like a storyteller. Pick a good kiddie read and find the adventure in your own life.

      3.) Write a line a day

      This little book is the best investment I made. For me, the idea of “journaling” every day is daunting. Will I really have time to commit? This is a little journal where there’s literally only room for ONE line – and it’s for five years! It makes me a bit teary-eyed looking back on mine. I’m on “Year Four” already. If I go to the very first entry, it’s after a terrible surgery. The next year, I’m performing a one-woman musical about that terrible surgery. The next year, I met a guy online. The next year, I’m his wife!

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      I can’t recommend a “Line A Day” journal enough. It’s your story… in time-lapse mode!

      4.) Find your story-song

      What am I talking about? Have you ever heard a song on the radio that really resonated with you, or with a certain time in your life? Did one song remind you of a terrible break up, or your first kiss, or that party you just couldn’t stop dancing at? Today, find that song and share it. Tada! Story shared.

      5.) Send a card – just because

      Snail-mail. Remember that? I love sending cards because; well, they give me an excuse to write! With a pen?!. How old fashioned. Today, send a card to a friend, just because. Thank them for the impact they’ve made on your life – big or small. In doing so, you’ll share with them how they’ve become part of your story. Connections make our stories stronger!

      6.) Be in the moment

      You don’t always know you’re telling a story as you’re living it. If you center yourself in the present moment, a story may unfold right before your eyes!

      Here’s the trick to being in the moment by way of a clever mantra: Awareness Without Judgment.

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      Notice every physical sensation in your body. Have a chat with what I like to call “My Five Superheroes“:  taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell. Think I’m crazy? I call them my “superheroes“ because they save me in the nick of time when I’m about to get lost in anxious thoughts. When I start worrying or pitying myself, I call on these rock stars before I can think one more thought.

      Quick! At this very second, name the first thing you…

      • Smell
      • See
      • Touch
      • Taste (it can be air!)
      • Hear

      Just start with those five physical sensations, and watch your story take shape. You have a story within you. You just have to be present so you can hear it.

      7.) Talk

      Simple, I know; however, speech is healing – and not always as easy as it seems. When we talk about what has happened in or lives, we use our voices to claim ownership over what has happened to us.

      So, go on.. tell your story!

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      Dance-to-the-Rhythm-of-the-Universe
        Photo Credit: Amy Oestreicher

        Conclusion

        Why should you share your story?

        The more stories we hear about turning an obstacle into an opportunity, the more empowered we are to transform our own lives and have confidence that when life actually does surprise us, we’re capable of getting through anything.

        Think that no one can relate to your story?

        That’s the beauty of a metaphor; through a larger vision, we can relate with our own unique stories. You never know who your story might affect, and that is the special super power of storytelling. Everyone’s story is different, but we all can relate to emotions. If you’re human, you’ve felt sadness, hunger, pain, joy,  and loss. It’s not the specifics that tug at our heart strings, it’s how we overcome them. We share our dreams, fears, successes, and losses in order to create the triumphant stories that make up our world.

        What story will you share today?

        Photo Credits: Amy Oestreicher via amyoes.com

        Featured photo credit: Amy Oestreicher via amyoes.com

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        1 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 2 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 3 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 4 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

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        Last Updated on May 21, 2019

        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

        For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

        If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

        Example 1

        You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

        You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

        In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

        Example 2

        You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

        People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

        You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

        Example 3

        You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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        The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

        Example 4

        You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

        Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

        If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

        Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

        • Understand your own communication style
        • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
        • Communicate with precision and care
        • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

        1. Understand Your Communication Style

        To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

        In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

        Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

        2. Learn Others Communication Styles

        Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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        If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

        “How do you prefer to receive information?”

        This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

        To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

        3. Exercise Precision and Care

        A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

        On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

        Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

        I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

        I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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        In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

        The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

        Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

        4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

        Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

        In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

        “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

        Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

        Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

        It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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        It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

        It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

        Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

        Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

        The Bottom Line

        When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

        I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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        Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

        Reference

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